A Spiritual Jigsaw Puzzle

Do you like jigsaw puzzles?

Maybe I’m wrong, but there seem to be less jigsaw puzzles in the shops than when I was a boy. I can remember going through a phase when I kept getting puzzles with more and more pieces - and then, just to make things more difficult - turning the pieces upside down and putting the whole thing together sight unseen.

Of course, there’s nothing worse than a jigsaw puzzle with a piece missing, or one that doesn’t quite seem to fit…

Piece 1. ~ The Spirit Guide

I don’t like flying. Actually I love it when the plane has taken off and I’m in the air (did you discover that you could control your flight direction in my last blog post). It’s just that I feel so out of control. I know that statistically it is the safest form of travel - but I still have a feeling of foreboding for days before a flight.

We were due to fly over to Killarney and I was starting to get my pre-flight nerves, so it came as some consolation to hear the spiritual medium at church, tell me that the spirit of a man, a "known" man was going to help me. The medium couldn’t tell me who he was, or had been when he was alive, but she did say that he looked very much like me. I thought at once about George Bernard Shaw and also James Joyce. But I wasn’t at all convinced…

Piece 2. ~ Ann and David

…Later we were all having our usual cup of tea, when Ann, a member of the congregation, asked me if I would read something at a dedication service she and the Rev. Eileen were arranging for her son David who had died at the age of nineteen, eight years previously. Ann explained that David had been beaten to death at the roadside. What a terrible thing for a mother to endure; her only son murdered, leaving her with her memories and grief. Ann explained that David had been a bit of a tearaway, but with “a heart of gold and a wonderful smile.” As Ann continued, her love for David poured out of her. She was planning the service to reassure him that he could ‘go on’ and that she wanted him to understand that she could cope with the rest of her earthly life.

“I don’t want him to worry anymore. He will have lots to do and I want him to feel that he can go and get on with his own destiny and not hang around, worrying about me.”

Piece 3. Death and Danger

I drove the Rev. Eileen home and as we approached her front door, a group of teenagers were picking on a young boy. The boy, who must have been around David’s age, looked frightened and their violence made me think that David’s fate was about to be re-enacted right in front of us. Fortunately the group dispersed -, but death can come so quickly.

Once inside, we sat down with a cup of tea, silently observed by a small group of Irish figurines on the mantelpiece. “They really live” said Eileen. Eight pairs of twinkling eyes looked back. I was due to go to Ireland in a week and I felt uneasy about the flight. “Keep me safe in Killarney” I thought.

Piece 4. The Poem

I then told Eileen about my conversation with Ann. Suddenly prompted by the sight of the Irish figurines, I realized that I would not be able to read at the service because I would be in Killarney on that day. Eileen looked disappointed. We sat in silence for a little while, and then I heard myself say “I could write a poem for her.” Eileen smiled.

Piece 5. The Vision

So the matter was settled, although I had no idea what I would write. I did however; relate to Eileen a visual hallucination that had happened to me a couple of nights previously, which in want for a better term, I could only describe as a ‘Vision’. Up to then I had always viewed the term ‘Vision’ as a rather biblical and romantic way of describing the output of a vivid imagination. This was mainly because I had not had one. I now know that a vision, once received, is unmistakable and cannot be confused with a normal visual-mental image, or a dream. This particular vision turned out to relate directly to Ann and David, although that was not clear to me then, as Eileen and I sat with her husband Ken, who had pottered downstairs to join us:

I was lying in bed, when the normal pattern of shapes, colours and stars that I (and possibly everyone else) see projected onto the back of my eyelids, slowly gained depth. I seemed to be floating in outer space and gazing at the infinity of the universe. The image was so real that I became a little frightened, but at the same time, intrigued at what might happen. I found could still wriggle my fingers and toes and therefore I assumed I was not dreaming - in any case it all seemed so real.

Then the infinity of stars dissolved and I found myself floating through a passage, toward a sunlit garden in the grounds of a beautiful mansion. The colours were unbelievable, like nothing I had seen before. Although I find it hard to believe in a heaven of gardens, flowers and mansions, I was sure that if such a heaven existed, I was indeed seeing it. At this point I was so enthralled with what I was seeing and so aware that I was not controlling the vision as in my normal imagination, that I opened my eyes and found I was simply lying on my bed in my dimly lit room. I was delighted to find that when I closed my eyes again, the vision was still there.

Then around the corner of the passage, came a black and white dog. The dog looked at me intently and then slowly the vision of the garden, the mansion, the “guardian” dog and the wonderful colours faded back into the starlit universe, which itself became again the patterns behind my eyelids.

Piece 6. ~ The Poet

The next day I woke with a favourite line from a poem by Dylan Thomas, running through my head:

“the ball I threw whilst playing in the park has not yet reached the ground” 

Dylan Thomas was the first poet I had encountered when I was around sixteen years of age, and the line that repeated again and again in my mind as I made my morning coffee came from “Should Lanterns Shine.” David had experienced such a short life and the idea that the ball was still flying through the air, seemed to underline this. Sipping my coffee, I considered that sending Dylan’s poem to Ann might be sufficient.

Piece 7. ~ A Poem for David

It was at this point that the poem I was to eventually write that day, started to form - seemingly of its own accord. We were opening at the Grand Theatre in Wolverhampton that evening and as I drove to the venue, thoughts words and phrases bounced through my head. Ann wanted something “young” to read; David had died eight years ago, so in a sense he had been re-born into the spirit realm at the moment of his death. Ann wanted David to “go on” and learn. Thoughts of my own first day at school and how I wanted to go home for tea and cuddles and how excited I was to see my mother waiting for me at the school gates replayed in my head. The thoughts and images kept coming during the sound-check and the preparatory staging for the evening’s opening night and I became more and more impatient to get the poem down on paper.

Eventually all the pre-show preparations were complete and I was able to go across the road from the stage door, to the local “Naff-Caff” a fantastic and dying English tradition, where steak-pie, lamb chops, egg chips and beans and the like, can be obtained for under a fiver, including a slice of bread and butter and a large cup of tea (so much better and cheaper than double burger “Whoppers” “Tortilla Wraps” and the rest of the new generation of fast food plastic digestive nightmares that are overtaking our simple and surprisingly nutritious – but totally un-trendy private enterprises.

After sausage egg and chips and still drinking my tea, I wrote David’s poem down in one rapid burst. The words came through me as if from somewhere else. Looking at the poem, completed in around twenty minutes, with so few corrections, I was stunned at the depth of meaning within it, even if the style was rather naïve. I had written it as if I was Ann. As I wrote, I had become Ann and David, my mother and myself.  However, even though the poem was finished, I felt compelled to add Dylan’s line at the end. I also felt it was “ok” to change it to “The ball you threw whilst playing in the park, has not yet reached the ground.” I thanked Dylan Thomas in my mind, for whatever part he had played in guiding, or at least inspiring me.

Piece 8. ~ The Dog

The following Sunday, I met Ann. She was delighted with the poem and I was starting to explain that it had seemed to come through me, as if I had been guided, when my attention was drawn to a black and white dog, sitting at the feet of Christine, a medium and a member of the congregation - it was the dog I had seen in my vision of the wonderful garden.

After the service I asked Helen, another member of our church, if she knew the name of the dog that had been sitting at Christine’s feet that afternoon. Her reply sent a shiver of excitement right through my body, “Dylan” she said

                                        “As in Dylan Thomas.”

Piece 9. ~ The Bomb Scare

Landing in Dublin a week later, on route to Killarney, there was a bomb-scare, in which I became involved and which hit the front pages of National newspapers – I remembered the Irish figurines and my feeling of impending danger.

Piece 10. ~ The Poet and the Dog

One evening in Killarney, near the end of Act 1, a title I had seen years before, “Portrait of the Artist as a Young Dog” flashed through my mind. In the dressing room during the interval, Spencer the Company Manager, Russell “the Baker” and Richard “the Cowboy” helped me look up the title on the Internet. This is what we found:

"Portrait of the Artist as a Young Dog" – An autobiographical collection of short stories, prose and Poetry by Dylan Thomas.


More Pieces

All of the above happened around eighteen months ago and I decided last weekend to write the whole thing up as a spiritual investigation, a jigsaw puzzle if you like. All of the pieces seemed to fit well and I didn’t even consider piece 1. and the ‘known’ spirit guide - in fact my original first piece was piece 2…

…until I started to read the excellent accounts of the life of Dylan Thomas on the website of BBC Wales.

Piece 11. ~James Joyce

Dylan Thomas had called his collection of poems and short stories "Portrait of the Artist as a Young Dog, after Joyce’s semi-autobiographical work, "Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man" This made me think of what is now piece 1., the ‘known’ spirit who was going to help me.

But the medium had said that the spirit had looked like me, and James Joyce, apart from being rather thin, bore no resemblance. So I read on…

Piece 12. ~ Augustus John

…James Joyce had been painted by an artist called Augustus John. Joyce it seems had complained that John’s drawings of him had failed to represent accurately the lower part of his face…

…Augustus John had also sketched Dylan Thomas, as well as introducing him to (and having an affair with) Caitlin Thomas, Dylan’s wife.

So was Augustus John, the ‘known’ spirit and the final piece in the jigsaw puzzle?

WP7120448-2hen we’raugustus johne born, no-one tells us how many pieces there are in the box…












The Angelic Prism

prisms for almanackMy last Almanack entry Soul-Less Angels by the Oak  was inspired by Carl Jung’s statement

Angels are: "Soulless beings who represent nothing but the thoughts and intuitions of their Lord."

I then finished the entry with a statement of my own

"Angels are the Gateway and the prism through which we can see the full spectrum of God". 

If you look at the illustration here and imagine that the prism is an Angel, I think my statement becomes clear. An angel does not (according to Jung) have a Soul, because the Angel’s soul is in fact a gateway and a focus to the Soul of God. An Angel enables us to see, not simply white light, but the full spectrum of the Divine.

Newton experimented with prisms and discovered that the prism did not colour the light, as had previously been thought. People had been experimenting with prisms and light for many years, but thought that the prism itself coloured the light in some way. Newton proved that in fact, the prism allows us to see the colour ‘within’, or more exactly ‘that is’ the light.

prismTherefore, viewing an Angel as a prism is compatible with the Angel’s main function (as the name angelus implies) namely that of a messenger or transmitter of ‘The All.’ In other words, the angel interprets but does not add (his) own colour to the transmission.

Despite amazing advances in science and technology, I think that we as human beings, still only tend to believe what we can perceive through our five senses. Any sixth (and more) senses are regarded with suspicion and are usually at best palmed off as ‘instinct’ or at best ‘intuition’. There is a line of thought however, which equates ‘instinct’ or intuitive hunches  with angelic influence. Richard Webster "spirit guides guardian angels" states: "Are these (intuitive) messages from our angel guardians? I would have to say "yes."  It follows then that we perceive that part of the physical and spiritual spectrum which is visible within the limitations of our human senses - we tend to think that what we cannot perceive or register through our known senses, does not exist - despite knowing, through acquired knowledge, that the full spectrum of light ranges from infra-red to ultra-violet.

roygbivI’m sure you’re ahead of me in relating the visible spectrum to that most beautiful of natural phenomena, the rainbow.  A rainbow is comprised of seven (yes seven again) colours: Red, Orange, Yellow,Green, Blue, Indigo and Violet. The illustration here gives the British mnemonic for the colours, but since 48% of this blog’s readership comes from the United States and Canada, perhaps you have your own memory-aid (or make one up and leave it in ‘comments’ :))


There was some dismay when Newton published his findings. Many people thought that the scientist had taken away the mystery and the holiness associated with God’s Covenant, failing to appreciate the natural miracle because it took away the personified image of God as a grey-bearded craftsman/creator, making a rainbow as a direct result of Noah and the Flood. The more feminine religions of the East however had naturally woven what could be described as a spiritual science which can be found in the 7 energy centres or Chakras of the human body and it’s holistic relationship to the world and the universe.

Angel Guardians

300px-All_Gizah_PyramidsAs well as being a Gateway to the All, Angels are the filters or guardians of our perceptions and contacts beyond the Gate. The triangular shape of the prism has long been regarded as the entrance to the spiritual plane; from the pyramids to the Holy Trinity, the number three and it’s triangular construction is regarded as sacred throughout humanity.

The Need for an Angel Guardian

Part of my motivation to start this series of posts on Angels and what I will call the "Otherworld" is to show that there is actually no division between the two. The division is caused by our inability to see and experience what is all around and within us. Not all influences beyond our five senses are safe however and ‘going it alone’ on a spiritual search can lead us into great danger.

Ouja (Weegee) Board

This is usually played at university or summer school after a good night out and with a cut-out alphabet and an empty wine glass (empty because it’s usually played when the red wine has run out). So the scenario is already perilous; slightly tipsy people having ‘fun’ with ghosts. This is the reverse peril of ‘personification’ - because the old images of the Devil, Pan, Cernunnos, Fairies and other Elementals are rejected by our ‘advanced’ society, people therefore fail to see that the forces that make up the old images are very real and conscious and existing at a level beyond our ability to easily perceive them.

The Planchette

Usually this is the wine glass or tumbler, but on a manufactured board, it is likely to be triangular. Therefore the participants in a Ouija-Séance are going it alone through their own unguarded gateway, without angelic protection. My advice is to not do it. The results are real, no matter if you ‘believe’ or not. You may be lucky and meet a benign presence - or you may find that your angel guardian has been replaced by the hounds of hell. If you are serious, I cannot in all honesty dissuade you from trying - just don’t mess around with it.

Working with Angels

I thought I’d finish this overview by suggesting a way of working with your angel guardians: Go to the previous post and look at the list of the seven archangels. Choose the archangel  who you think will help you with a specific problem and invite that angel to help you. For example, if you need clarity of thought, focus on and ask Uriel for help: 

Uriel ~ {clear thinking,earth,north,summer,white,Taurus,Virgo,Capricorn}.

Try it, you may be pleasantly surprised with the results.




(the Fire It button looks a little dangerous)


All images are linked to source material from wikipedia to the met office. highlighted text will take you to source documents.

27th July 2007 ~ Ella Halman - A Psychic Investigation Begins…

After an interesting day auditioning, I set off back to the hotel, walking with an increasingly heavy bag and new shoes. My shoes had started their life quite well, but in the New York heat, the rather raw internal seams and stitching started to take their toll on my left toes, my right heel and on the whole of my good nature. Needless to say, by the time I reached the hotel, my good nature had temporarily vanished. Fortunately my room was cool and above all peaceful, which cannot be said for the rest of the hotel, which suffered from the malady of a nightly ‘disco’ with a mind-numbing incessant, thumping beat, which destroyed any opportunity and inclination to have anything resembling an intelligent conversation.Once my feet and body had cooled down and the two pain-killers I had taken had pulled my raging headache down to manageable proportions, I escaped the wall of sound outside of my room and found myself back on Broadway.






Times Square, resembles a giant video-game. Somehow it works; maybe because there is more space and maybe because the Americans really know how to make ‘trash-flash’ work. New Yorkers seem more friendly, polite and articulate than Londoners – certainly I have met nothing but kindness and openness in the three days since we arrived. So much for New York being fast; everyone seems to have more time to ‘relate’, - unlike London where the aggression level seems much higher - and folk seem more miserable.


Walking through Times Square, my thoughts turned to my long time friend and musical director David S. who had sloped-off after auditions, to see ‘Curtains’ at the Al Hirschfeld theatre.


No sooner had he crossed my mind, but David, who had had a great time at the show, appeared in front of me, “Now isn’t that strange” said David, “I was just trying to ring you, but I couldn’t get through”


I think that most people experience similar occurrences on an almost daily basis. I certainly do and I think that it is possible that when two people are thinking of each other, that they become almost magnetically attracted. It’s either that, or their narrowing proximity, brings the other person into each of their minds. Whatever the reason, it occurs too frequently for me to simply discount it as co-incidence.


There is a touch of ‘living the dream’ about walking on Broadway, especially on a warm summers evening – certainly David and I felt it, as we searched for an eatery that did not involve a meal around twice the size of one we would find in London. We eventually found one and David set about a corned beef sandwich the size of a dinner-plate, whilst I contented myself with a ice-cream float (all I needed, as I had eaten, whilst David had been at the show)





After the corned beef and ice-cream float feast, David and I stopped and watched a street-artist drawing a caricature (see Martin Beck below)* of a little Japanese girl. David who at one time was a conductor with the D’Oyly Carte orchestra, suddenly remarked that during the performance of ‘Curtains’ earlier that evening, the image of Ella Halman in the part of Katisha from the Mikado had sprung into his mind.. “She was there on stage in her full Japanese costume – it was that vivid” he recounted.




David went on to explain that Ella Halman had sung with the D’Oyly Carte and had performed the part of Katisha in the Mikado at the:-

Martin Beck - Al Hirschfeld Theatre


The Al Hirschfeld Theatre is located on the south side of West 45th Street, between 8th and 9th Avenues. It is marked as the Martin Beck Theatre on The Broadway Map

The Martin Beck Theatre (Later renamed to the Al Hirschfeld Theatre) was opened in 1924 by the famous vaudeville impresario Martin Beck. Amongst his many vaudeville accolades, Martin Beck discovered the illusionist Houdini in 1899 who was performing rudimentary magic tricks in St. Paul, Minnesota. Beck convinced Houdini to focus on his “escape” routines and gave him his start in Beck’s chain of Orpheum theaters. Although the business relationship with Houdini would sour in later years, Houdini’s brother, Dash, later wrote that Houdini owed all his success to the “Astute” Martin Beck. Although Beck was voted out of the presidency of the newly “Public” Orpheum circuit in 1923, Beck remained a potent force in theatrical circles. He opened the impressive Martin Beck Theater on Broadway in 1924, the only theater in New York on which there was no mortgage.
The theatre has continuously operated as a successful Broadway venue for over eighty years.
In 2003 the theatre was renamed to the Al Hirschfeld Theatre, who’s namesake’s 100th birthday followed his death in that year. Al Hirschfeld, a famous American caricaturist (see Japanese girl above)*, is best known for his simple black and white satirical portraits of celebrities and Broadway Theatre stars. The Al Hirschfeld Theatre includes an on-going show of his works.

The Mikado

This production played in repertory with The Pirates of Penzance, Trial by Jury & H.M.S. Pinafore, Iolanthe.



Opening Night Cast

Robert Eckles

Lord High Everything Else


Radley Flynn



Martyn Green

Lord High Executioner of Titipu


Ella Halman

an Elderly Lady, in love with Nanki-Poo


Joseph Macaulay

The Mikado of Japan


Dorothy MacNeill

one of Three Sisters, ward of Ko-Ko


Lillian Murphy

one of Three Sisters, ward of Ko-Ko


Mary Roche

one of Three Sisters, ward of Ko-Ko


Frank Rogier

a Noble Lord


Robert Rounseville

son of the Mikado, disguised as a wandering minstrel, in love with Yum-Yum



Further confirmation was found:-

New York City Broadway Theater Guide


The Al Hirschfeld Theatre…….was the Martin Beck Theatre. There is more research to be done, but I am late with this week’s Almanack entry and there is little chance of me completing my detective work until I return to England this week-end - so I thought it would be interesting if I present the facts as they continue to emerge, rather than waiting until the final full picture is known.

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It would seem to me that the spirit of Ella Halman had contacted David as he sat in the theatre where she had performed, in a vision so strong that he said it was as if she was actually on-stage that evening.

Although a young man, David had adored the work of Ella Halman and her husband Radley Flynn and had contacted them when they retired to Penrith in Cumbria. Ella outlived Radley by 17yrs and died in Penrith in 1995, at the age of 88yrs.


Ella Halman and Radley Flynn together

After corresponding for a few years, David finally represented the D’Oyly Carte at Ella Halman’s commemoration service, after having formed a strong bond with her, during her last years.

David would probably not have mentioned his vision to me, if we had not watched the little Japanese girl in Times Square.

My feeling is that Ella Halman wanted her contact with David to be ‘proven’ and not dismissed as mere imagination.

I feel that David and I have been chosen by Ella to prove it.


Let’s see what unfolds…

Sunday 11th March - Green Spirits

This post is not intended to knock Extraordinary Rendition off the top-spot. I think the world is getting “atrocity punch-drunk”. We can watch somone dying on tv and then go to tea…..(including me) No…this post is to celebrate Spring! In the pagan calendar, we are half-way through ‘Imbolc’, which commences on the 1st or 2nd of February and gives way to the Spring Equinox (March 20/21st). I can smell the earth, as I walk through the Grove with my morning coffee.

I’ve been driving to Liverpool each day - there is a Victorian Ghost, chasing a servant-girl up the stairs, at the Empire Theatre in Lime Street (just next to Lime Street Station) ChrisP, a young performer told me about the apparitions; (just before he managed to sprain his foot and then, no doubt in emotional hysteria, throw himself head-first into the scenery) - and no…I didn’t see either the man or the girl (only ChrisP), but it was a busy week and I really wasn’t ‘tuned’ to things beyond the concrete dimensions.

Driving to Liverpool each morning was wonderfully different. In the middle of each tree I passed (it’s a good drive..lot’s of forests, fields and trees) there seemed to be a shimmering green ‘tree-soul’. Yet the trees were/are still in bud. Why could I see green? The tree spirits are there - go and have a look.

(the hours before and up to dawn)
Life is renewing, the light is returning

The life force is awakening ~ Vivianne Crowley

Finally….a quiz

What tree is this? sargents-cherry-bark.jpg



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